Frank Barbato Sr during the second renovation in 1973.

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“Why are you called Bomb Bomb?” We know you’re thinking it, and we know you’re hoping for a good story. Well, you’re in luck. The story of Bomb Bomb’s name, and the history of the taproom at Wolf and Warnock, is something out of a movie, and knowing the history of the neighborhood will only enhance your experience eating at our restaurant.

Upon opening a small corner taproom in 1936, Vincent Margarite drew the ire of local racketeers and business rivals, creating a competing neighborhood barroom in the tight-knit, largely Italian community. This dissatisfaction with the new business resulted in a loud BOOM on the morning of Sunday February 16.

A bomb was placed on the newly-opened tap room’s front stoop, shattering windows up and down the street for blocks. Not to be intimidated, Margarite re-opened his bar a day later. A little more than a month later, on April 4th, 1936, a second bomb exploded at the taproom, this one big and loud enough to throw neighbors from their beds, including Margarite and his family, who lived on the second floor of the establishment.

Bomb Bomb Swinging on a Saturday Night!
Bomb Bomb Swinging on a Saturday Night!

Vincent was forced to cave to local pressures following the circulation of a petition demanding the shuttering of the taproom for the safety of the community. Margarite sold his bar to Jimmy Cataldi. Jimmy’s Tavern operated for years peacefully, although never shaking the reputation, as  locals and regulars referred to Jimmy’s as Bomb Bomb.

In 1951 Frank Barbato, Sr. purchased Jimmy’s Tavern from Cataldi. Celebrating the infamous history and reputation of the bar, Frank Sr. re-named the tavern “Bomb Bomb” and the name has stuck ever since. Like Vincent Margarite’s family, Frank Sr. and his wife, Regina, lived on top of their restaurant with their two sons until 1957. Frank Jr. and his wife Debbie took over operation of Bomb Bomb in 1990, updating the bar and creating a sit-down dining room atmosphere to accompany the traditional corner taproom.

Now, Bomb Bomb is one of the few remaining links to the history of the city of Philadelphia in an ever-changing neighborhood. And the food is pretty outstanding, too.

It's all about the company you keep.
It’s all about the company you keep.